Gold Note PH10, Bryston BP2, Clear Audio Smart V2


As listed in the title, I am very interested in hearing views on the above phono preamps in terms of a comparison.
I have been using the Clear Audio Smart V2 preamp for a couple of years with my VPI Ares3 TT, SME Series lV tonearm and vintage Audio Technica AT15ss, now an AT20ss with a NOS stylus I found after 12 years of searching...!    The system sounds extraordinary and why I like the Clear Audio Smart is that it has adjustable capacitive loading which is an absolute necessity for MM cartridges.

I have read a lot of amazing reports on how nice the PH 10 plays, however it has a fixed capacitance on MM at 200 pf, which is pretty close to where I have mine set at; I think I am around 250 pf., so it will most likely work fairly well until the new model comes out next year with variable capacitance settings.  The Bryston BP2 with the outboard power supply is another option, and it has variable capacitance in 100 pf settings from 100 to 400 pf.  I'd have to find out if 200 or 300 pf works best as I found anything too low or too high really alters the sound from the AT20ss.

I'd like to hear what anyone has to say about any of the above units and how they compare against each other.  I had one sales guy at one of the big online retailer tell me that the Bryston was too forward and detailed for his liking... he likes warmer.  

I also found out that the PH 10 will be released in an upgraded version in a month with new op-amps which reduce the noise floor by 12 db at the same price as the current model... now that would be great; however it is only in the MC circuits, not the MM.  So for me, it would make no difference and perhaps I can find a deal on a used PH 10 from a MC guy who wants to get into the new design.

Anyway, I am all ears now ......???
slimpikins5
Then you have to try 100k Ohm for MM to see if you like it better than 47k Ohm. 

Cap switches on iPhono 2 does not make any improvement for me, it was hard to detect any difference. JLTi if the most versatile MM phono stage for me (also nice for MC with many loading options).  They are selling mk5 version now for higher price, but that version has brand new PSU. 
If your phono stage didn't show any changes from capacitance changes on the input interface from the MM Cartridge, I'd say that this is most likely due to either the characteristics of the cartridge being used or the circuitry design of the phono amp is such that its not picking up the nuances of the input changes.

I had a discussion with a Bryston person on this subject yesterday and he said that MM cartridges need variable capacitance to tune it to the system, pretty much exactly what I have been saying.  We were discussing capacitance values and how to tweak it even closer than using the standard 100 pf jumpers.   I ran listening evaluation with 100 pf, 150pf, 250 pf and 400 pf.  It was quite obvious how the frequency response altered with each and the smoothest flat response was at 250 pf with my AT20ss.  The lower settings caused a muddy pillow over the tweeter type of sound, the 400 pf. setting caused the low end to roll off and the highs to be exaggerated.  250 pf. was nirvana, just perfect with a wonderful presentation of definition, etc.  

But I'd really like to hear from anyone who has experience with either of the two other preamps, the BP2 and PH10 vs. the Smart V2.
If your phono stage didn’t show any changes from capacitance changes on the input interface from the MM Cartridge, I’d say that this is most likely due to either the characteristics of the cartridge being used or the circuitry design of the phono amp is such that its not picking up the nuances of the input changes.

It was iPhono 2 which i did not liked at all, but this particular phono stage has so many positive reviews for some reason.

I’ve had more than 20 MM phono cartridges and never had a capacitance issues with any of them if the phono cable is right. I am happy with MM phono stage without caps switches.

You’re ignoring the fact that some manufacturers recommends loading lower than 47k and higher than 47k. Most of the high compliance cartridges from Audio-Technica, Grace or Victor must be loaded at 100k Ohm. The ability to change loading for MM is very important feature for the MM phono stage.

Gold Note PH-10 is a great phono stage, love it with external PSU

AT20ss (or AT20SLa) is a nice cartridge :)